Monday, 31 July 2017

More Funding Success!

Organisation name: Back To Books 
Project title: With My Best Foot Forward

This project is a progression of our work with disadvantaged groups / community members who are hard to reach and whose needs are often overlooked. It also follows on from our most recent project "Celebrating Our Senses - Mindfulness, Walking, Wellbeing". 

"We are pleased to let you know that following the Tesco Bags of Help vote in your local Tesco stores, your project came second and has been chosen by Tesco Customers to receive an award of £2,000.00.

Voting was held at Tesco stores between Monday 1st May to Friday 30th June and proved to be very successful with millions of votes being cast by Tesco Customers across England, Scotland and Wales."

As we didn't receive the full amount originally applied for we will use the funds to support walks, events and activities during two new projects "Branching Out - Parks and Gardens - Mindfulness, Walking, Wellbeing Project" and "Parks and Gardens, Woods and Water, Crafts and Industry"

Thank you to everyone who voted for us!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Branching Out - Kettering Food Festival

As it wasn't possible to make an intervention for the Boughton House walk we decided to create silk paintings inspired by the gardens to hang at The Kettering Food Festival hosted by Groundworks at The Green Patch.

Carole brought three long silks to SWAG in Corby

as many of the group have also been involved 

as members of Back To Books Projects.

They were so inspired that Carole outlined

more designs on hoops for the group to paint.

Everyone found the process relaxing

and produced gorgeous results

Our lovely silks adorning The Real Junk Food Cafe Marquee

Kate Williams greeting Mark LaneHealth, Wellbeing and Community Ambassador Groundwork UK who is also a presenter on on BBC Gardeners World and who is a firm advocate of the therapeutic benefits of gardening and sees it as a doorway to mindfulness and wellbeing.

For more information about the flavour of the Kettering Food Festival read this engaging Post by Mark Lane, Health, Wellbeing and Community Ambassador Groundwork UK 
Mayor of Kettering, Scott Edwards

The painters were very excited to see their work in situ and many came to sample the delights at the Food Festival. They also had plenty of walking that day as there was much to see on site and were able to connect with friends both old and new.

To find out more about food waste projects and cafes in Northamptonshire please visit Fruitful Abundance

More about SWAG  Meeting at Stephenson Way Community Centre every Monday from 11.30am until 1.30pm, the S.W.A.G group get creative! Occasionally, the group have special projects but are open to all types of art during their sessions – you can bring your own project or experiment with club materials. To join S.W.A.G you can just turn up, pay £2 for refreshments and have fun whilst learning new skills. See the group here helping to create panels for the back To Books Brampton Valley Way mosaics 

To find out more about The Green Patch please follow the link

Five garden tweaks that will help health and wellbeing

How walking can help wellbeing

To see more photos follow the link

After the Food Festival the round silk paintings 
became part of the decorations at the wedding 
celebration for Back To Books Chair Meriel White 

and were later returned to the makers to take home or to keep at Stevie Way.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Craft and Industry - Visit to Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Clarice Cliff's House

 Professor Flavia Swann welcomes the group to her home

We were asked not to take photographs inside the house but the postcard below shows the beautiful Arts and Crafts interior which remains intact. The original decor was probably a bit old fashioned for Clarice Cliff and were were told that in some parts of the house the timbers were painted bright red. This has all now been beautifully restored, the gardens were once stepped over seven terraces but the house and land were bought by a property developer and the garden is now much smaller but very beautifully kept.

Piano becomes garden

A notable example of one of their earliest collaborations at Clayton, Staffordshire, is dated to 1899, and was originally called the Goodfellow House after the man who commissioned it. Parker and Unwin were involved in designing many of the interior fittings, which remain in the house to this day, and the initial layout of the large gardens. Goodfellow sold the house in 1926 to Colley Shorter who ran the nearby pottery works of Wilkinson's and Newport. He renamed it Chetwynd House and when he married his star designer Clarice Cliff in 1940, she moved into the house and lived there until 1972. 

You can see early black and white photographs of the house soon after completion here

"Colley and Clarice were having an affair and in 1936 Clarice moved into a flat at 20 Snow Hill, Shelton - the principal visitor to the Snow Hill flat, according to Clarice Cliff's biographer, Lynn Knight, was Colley Shorter and their affair was observed with much eyebrow-raising; although, Ms Knight writes, the relationship was "widely known within the industry by this time". Clarice married Colley Shorter in 1940 when his wife died, and she moved to the Shorter family home - Chetwynd House in Clayton."

It was wonderful to meet up with artists Kate Lynch - A Conversation with the Green Man - maker, mender and grower and Joyce Iwaszko - Stoke-on-Trent artist exhibited her work in Middleport Pottery's newly-refurbished Prince of Wales Studios between May and July 2015 - the first artist to use the studios' gallery. 

For a more detailed walk please follow the link to "in the footsteps of Clarice Cliff" by local historian Fred Hughes

Hidden in Brampton Park less than half a mile from the town centre lies Newcastle-Under-Lyme’s local history museum featuring over 800 years of Borough history.

Set in beautiful parkland the Museum and Art Gallery has something for everyone. Alongside temporary exhibitions programme there are galleries depicting the rich and diverse history of the area. 

Highlights include a Victorian Street scene, which allows you to take a step back in time as you discover the wares of Mellard’s the ironmongers, the treasures of the pawnbroker’s shop, the fascinating cures of the chemist’s and the gruesome collection of doctor’s surgical instruments.

Early tea wares


There is a toys gallery with teddies, dolls and games up to 150 years old and the 1930s/40s house allows a glimpse into what life was like during the wartime years.

Hand sewn sampler and a 70's chid's sewing machine

A sea of teddys

A child's hand crank sewing machine

These two Sindy dolls are from the 1980's

Palitoy Tressy in a Tri-ang Mam'sell Sindy dress

Sindy's sister Patch was a doll from the 1960's

Phlomis - name derived from Greek word for flame, possibly because the were used as lamp wicks.